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According to her, “making Nigeria a digital economy will lead to the creation of a knowledge economy and information society that ensures we better leverage a major competitive advantage that we have as a country , a youthful population and a large domestic market for ICT – as evidenced in the success of the telecoms industry in the last 10 years”

Johnson assured that the ministry would promote the utilisation of ICT in all spheres of life to optimize the communications infrastructure, digital content creation, domestic software applications, the delivery of private and public services over the internet.

The desire of President Goodluck Jonathan as encapsulated in the creation of the ministry, she explained, was to see Nigeria become knowledge based networked society where ICT is deployed to not only enhance the national and economic development but also to create an ecosystem where ICT is used to drive how Nigerians live, work and play.

The minister added that the ministry was committed to providing the right policy environment where this desire can be achieved.

“We have defined a desired new market structure for the ICT industry that reflects a better balance between Information Technology and Communication Technologies and also recognizes the convergences of these technologies.

“Today the ICT industry is dominated by the GSM companies/mobile network operators particularly voice communication. Creating a digital economy requires the accelerated migration to a data communication market and the development of a robust ecosystem that feeds off this.

“The Ministry and the implementing agencies of the Ministry will work in close collaboration with the ICT industry to improve penetration of voice and data services across the country and on the back of this penetration, grow value added services (such as ICT training and education, digital content creation), call centre operations , domestic business process outsourcing, software development and maintenance, device assembly, sales, distribution, maintenance and repairs, equipment assembly, sales, distribution, maintenance and repairs” she explained.

A committee chaired by Professor Akwule of the Digital Bridge Institute, according to her had been constituted and charged with the responsibility of harmonizing the various policies that govern the ICT sector to develop a National ICT Policy.

 

She was of the view that this will drive and facilitate the achievement of the market structure .

Johnson stated that prior to the completion of the draft National ICT Policy, plans and preparations were underway to present the ministry’s vision and the desired market structure to industry stakeholders by end of this month at the first in a series of stakeholder forums to receive their input, buy in and support and commence the process of a much more productive engagement with the private sector.

“We have also commenced the process of re-aligning roles and responsibilities of our implementing agencies to eliminate duplication and overlap, reviewing ongoing and future projects and initiatives and streamlining their activities to ensure that they focus on their core mandates of either policy development, access and infrastructure provision, industry regulation or industry support as the case may be.

“Today the truth is that most of the agencies focus on all of these things leading to market confusion, valuable resource dissipation and poor project prioritization and project execution.

“Internally we are harvesting all ongoing and proposed ICT projects of Ministries(including the departments and agencies that they supervise) with a view to ensuring that FGN is firstly receiving value for money for ICT projects and that there is a clear alignment between these projects and the transformation agenda objectives,” she also said.

Source: allafrica news